Five intrepid Dice and Bolter members had all signed up to the Newcastle GT (18th and 19th June 2022) and after months of studying the meta, tweaking army lists and ripping arms of models (thanks GW) we ready to take on the best.
Two filthy meta chasers Luke and Lee with Nids and Harlequins, two plucky contenders Ed and Ethan with Space Wolves and Knights and Paul making up the numbers with the mighty Crons.
After travelling several hours and a couple of hundred miles, my first opponent would be……… Paul Williamson from just down the road in Morcambe, there was a lot of talk the night before about how I would easily crush him and it would be no contest, well I wasn’t falling for that reverse psychology, so I awoke at 4 30 am to study his list and decipher the cold mechanical workings of his logic circuits.
Game one Paul. In Abandoned Sanctuaries
Paul is a metaphorical and literal giant of the game and he had gone against conventional wisdom and taken a Ctan shard of the Void Dragon, his other trick was a 6 inch pre game move but due to mission rules this was un-available. Facing Quins with Necrons is like fighting with one hand behind your back, Paul now had no hands and I was kicking him in the shins for lols.
Paul stuck with his tried and tested formula of throwing everything forwards bar his Heavy Destroyers, he kept the Ctan hidden first round and tried to do as much damage as possible with his Destroyers before trying to get in combat. Unfortunately with minus 1 to hit across most of my units and re rolls on my invuns, he managed very little damage. In combat is where Dark Harlequins excel and even when you kill them, they tweak your nose and fight on death. It was a massive up hill battle for Paul and not committing the Ctan first turn give me more chance to concentrate on crippling the rest of his army.
I had talked before the game about a strat where I could fight and then jump back in a transport, I managed to set this up for the first time ever against Paul all I had to do was make a 6 inch charge with a re-roll……..failed.
During this weekend I had high hopes for my mega tooled Troupemaster and super Killy Solitaire, I had ran the math on the Troupemaster and he was capable of taking down a flyrant on his own. So in the second turn I had used him to wipe out his Warlord and consolidate into some lowly scarabs, I would kill them easily and then dance about in his deployment, alas no, he tripped on the hem of his clown dressing gown and disappeared under an avalanche of scuttling clicking metal bugs.
Pauls final gambit was his super attacky ophidian destroyers which he deep struck and charged in, again a combination of -1 to hit 4++ and fighting on death meant I could weather this melee onslaught and push them back from my lines.
A win for the clowns 94 24 It was a great first game and always a pleasure to play Paul, as the pairings went up I started to think about how I would tell the wife, I would be home very late Sunday after getting to the final…..
Game two – Johnathan Tyranids Data Scy Salvage
This event had players that were the best in the world at their faction and several from the top ten( Ed would play most of them this weekend) Johnathan was from a club where he practiced with Manni Cheema( talk to Ed) and he was taking a horde of Leviathan Tyranids warriors, this would be tough.
This mission uses sticky objectives so once you tag one you can leave it, on reflection I picked the wrong secondary’s in stranglehold and Deadly performance, but if I could wear down his big blobs with massed Shuriken and use my Flyrant killing Troupemaster I may have a chance.
Turn one he claimed a lot of objectives and moved a unit of warriors close to an objective near my deployment zone, I concentrated a lot of firepower into the unit and sent the Troupemaster and Solitaire to kill one of his flyrants. Unfortunately leviathan Synapse have a version of trans human coupled with a minus one damage strat meant that even after two turns of withering Shuriken fire, they were sticking around.
Meanwhile the Troupemaster was duelling with the flyrant unfortunately his big flappy clown shoes slipped on some alien ichor and he only managed to do 4 wounds, he was then ripped apart by the maw claws of Thyrax.
It was turn 3 and I was losing badly in the war of attrition, I had killed a lot of his stuff but with one or two warriors surviving and sticky objectives the game was only heading one way.
By turn 4 I was virtually out of dancing clowns so it was a simple matter for him to complete warp ritual and max out on all his primary’s.
Loss 21 94
I had tasted the sweet rarified air of the top table and been sent back to where I belonged, It was a bad match up for me, my list loves to face elite forces and mid size power armour types, I struggle against hordes as I lack the troops for board control, next up Ghaz and bazillion Orks……….
Game Three – Ryans Orks – mission – Conversion
Secondary’s are a massive part of making a list work and most of the time I knew what to take. In this game I made a fatal error of taking Psychic interrogation even though he had a psycher, the problem being the low cast on a 4 so even if you get it off it can be easily denied. An error I would come to regret.
Ryan had first turn and sent his first wave of orks in, he claimed a lot of objectives and scored stranglehold but did very little damage to me, my first turn and the Shuriken spoke, Orks were cut down by the bucketload and I sent my solitaire 23 inches across the board to delete 10 truck boys, this would swing the objective back to me.
The Solitaire in fluff is a one man killing machine, he is cursed to lose his soul to Slannesh so fights with supernatural strength and speed, in the game he has 10 attacks once per game, hits on 2s, Str6 minus 3 ap and has a 3 up invun, with lucky dice rerolls, he is death incarnate.
The Solitaire pirouetted into the Orks, flashing out and making death an operatic art form for the ages, the Orks looked at each other shrugged kicked him to death.
Yes this murderous Tyrant killer had felled three boys and was beaten to a pulp by 7 Orks in return.
Meanwhile my shadowseer tried to do a Psychic interrogation which was denied not a great first turn.
As the turns progressed Ryan did very little damage to me and I kept on cutting down his laughing Orks it was a bloodbath but he was beating me on Primary’s. On turn 4 his lack of troops was starting to tell and I finally started to score big, by turn 5 he was down to Ghaz and the score was close, I tried my last psychic interrogation and rolled a double one, I was out of cp so had to accept it.
We finished the game and the score was 81 81, wow it was a great game.
The enduring image is Ghaz stood atop a mound of broken Orks, smashed Clowns and several gun boats pouring fire into him “ cmon is that all you pointy eared gits have’
Some would say that is a moral victory to the Orks, well those people can shut the hell up.
Finished 1 1 1 it had been an emotional day.
After a good nights sleep I was determined to improve my position it was still all to play for, I mean who wouldn’t want the coveted position of best Dice and Bolter player at a North east competition 2022 award.
Game 4 -James Adeptus Custodes -mission -Tear down their icons
Now we are talking, an army smaller then mine and with only 5 objectives, I was certainly in a good position to win this one. So secondary’s were stranglehold and even though he had a Psycher, I hadn’t learned my lesson and took psychic interrogation.
Meanwhile pre battle the Troupmaster took the solitaire to one side and had a quite word in his death mask
“ Listen mate, you have to buck your ideas up, you came dancing in here Mr Billy big bollocks and you have let the lads down, Iam not angry just disappointed, so lets get the tap shoes on, wipe that Ork blood of your dressing gown and lets see what you can do, against theses 7 foot tall golden monsters okay?”
James had some terrifying killy units with a mixture of halberd custards and shooting custards backed up by 2 units of three bikes with melta missiles and Trajan Valoris.
We deployed and I won fist turn, I looked across the battle field……..nothing, every single unit hidden away, yes these genetic killers from the dark age of technology were hiding behind walls and waiting for the pretty elves in dresses to dance to them. ( to be fair I would have done the same)
I jumped out on objectives and the Solitaire after his pep talk blitzed a mighty 23 inches across the board towards some gun and sword custards. I did a psychic interrogation which periled( never taking this again) and the solitaire charged in.
At this point it was where some of the hideous close combat strats come into play, I played Oblivion’s caress a phase field generator that lets you reach into the victims chest and crush his internal organs, it ignores invulnerable saves. Coupled with 10 attacks and damage 2 he absolutely minced them, in return he avoided all hits, his 3++ holding against everything.
James had to make a play with his custards so countered in the middle with his blade Champion and sent out a couple of units of guards to take back objectives, some good saves on my part meant that I lost very little.
Turn two and I pressed my advantage sending in a clown boat to back up the solitaire and falling back from combat with other units meaning I could shoot and charge back in. It was beginning to dawn on James that normal rules of 40k don’t apply to Harlequins, leave combat and shoot yep, leave combat and charge yep, advance and charge yep, fight when they die yep, I have developed a phrase that cover all this “cos Harlequins”
The solitaire and backup clowns continue to wreak havoc in combat and I am whittling down his other units with massed Shuriken fire.
James commits Trajan to the middle in a last ditch attempt to wrestle back control and sends three bikes after the Solitaire, the bikes unload all their tank busting missiles into the dancing freak, when the dust settles he flicks a speck of his shoulder, remains un-wounded and gives them a “come get me punks” gesture. Combat and the Solitaire takes some damage but brings down a couple of bikes, he is unstoppable.
My turn 3 and I line up some firepower on the middle, now Trajan Valoris is an absolute tank, with amazing defence and a lot of wounds but even he would struggle to survive against 8 Shuriken cannons 2 prismatic laser cannons and two haywire cannons plus charges from fight on death clowns , the mighty Imperium champion is laid low.
The game was winding up and it was clear James was going to run out of troops to contest objectives he made a last ditch attempt with three more bikes but all he could do was finally kill the Solitaire.
We finished the game and the Clowns had triumphed 90 to 43, James was great to play against but I had the perfect counter to his list.
Some would say it was a moral victory for the Custards for killing the Solitaire, well those people can shut the hell up.
Game 5 – Ashley with Necrons – Tide of Conviction
Ashley had the exact opposite of what I had just played and had a massive Necron horde and everything was objective secured. I knew I would fall behind on objectives to start with but had to hope I could just hang in and kill enough to start claiming towards the end. His List was very similar to Pauls but instead of a Ctan he had more troops, destroyers and wraiths.
Now an odd thing had happened this weekend, I discovered a new rule in 40k apparently there is this thing called AP and it effects your armour save, all weekend people kept say this weapon is ap -3 or 5 or 7, well I don’t care “ cos Harlequins”
Anyway Ashley had first turn and he advanced his wraiths right into my face for a turn one charge he held back some destroyers but jumped on nearly every objective, like Paul he tried to use his Heavy destroyers to snipe my boats but again no re rolls, minus 1 to hit and 4++ re rollable saves meant not much got through( cos Harlequins)
His wraiths had managed to charge my troupmaster and got him down to one wound but his return attacks were devastating and a counter charge from some clowns ignoring invun saves( cos Harlequins) knocked them all off
His second turn was a second wave of Destroyers and the lord entering the battle and he agin tied up a lot of my units and prevented me from scoring he also managed to nail a boat with the heavy destroyers and the resulting technicolour fireball killed three clowns.
My response was to blow three of the heavy destroyers away and charge into his deployment with my bikes, I also moved up my big unit of clowns in the middle( 9 men) and activated Prismatic blur, now theses fragile little fellas were -1 to hit in combat, -1 to wound from the shadow seer, had a 6+ feel no pain from the shadow seer, a 3++ save and fight on death ”cos Harlequins”
Into this rainbow blender of death Ashley sent in 450 points of his army and he got me down to one clown and he lost everything, at the same time the Solitaire was taking on the Necron lord and was not quite as effective but was still doing a great job.
I had taken behind enemy lines so was starting to put units behind him, because of the massive loss of his units I was also starting to score primary points, on his turn 5 he made a play to charge my boats and deny me more points but charging that amount of guns is dangerous and overwatch took out his last Skorpek destroyer.
On my last turn I jumped on as many objectives as possible and gunned down the last of his troops, I honestly didn’t know if I had done enough but a final total of the points revealed 76 80 win for the clowns, the massive amount of points he lost to no prisoners and my last turn dashes into his deployment lines had just squeaked me over the line.
It was so very close and had been another nail biter right to the end, Ashley was another great guy to play against and we both agreed Necrons need some work but not Harlequins they are just fine.
Some would say that was a moral victory for Necrons against an overpowered broken faction, well to those people I say “ I don’t care, cos Harlequins”
So I finished on 3 wins one loss and a draw played some great people and finished 25th and came second to Luke in our little group who finished a massively respectable 10th in a very strong field.
Bring on the next Dice and Bolter outing and get me round of Maleceptors* barkeep
*hideous stomach turning cocktail that has to be drunken in front of a strangled puppy.
Written by Lee Ashley, photos by Paul Williamson